What You Need To Know About Healthy Fats
Fat makes you fat? Not true, of course. In fact, healthy fats can extend your life, studies show, and they actually give your skin—and even your brain—a boost.
But should you really add butter to your coffee? Are supplements the best way to get your fill of fatty acids? While fat is no longer demonized as a diet no-no, there are still a lot of misconceptions out there.
What counts as a “healthy” fat—and how much should you eat?
First things first: Is it unsaturated or saturated fat that you want to stay away from? The dietary guidelines shifted in 2015 and there’s no longer a recommended cap on the intake of dietary fat. If it’s high in sugar and carbs as well, no dietician is going to bill it as healthy.
But there are certain foods like - avocados, olives—in both whole food and oil form—salmon, almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, and flax seeds are all excellent fat sources because they have high levels of omega-3s , which are crucial for brain health.
But even then, you still have to think about what else is in a given ingredient. it's advisable to eat the fish no more than two servings a week because of the mercury levels and when it comes to foods high in fats and protein, like nuts, you want to be mindful of the protein content—too much and your body will end up storing it instead of using it.
What fats do for your body
So, about that fatty acid-fueled mind boost: “The science is very powerful in how they influence brain development,” says Drew Ramsey, MD, author of Eat Complete. According to the research he’s seen, they literally help the brain to grow new brain cells!
Omega-3 is also fuel that gives us energy—saturated fats in particular. It keeps blood sugar levels stable and cuts cravings. Fats are filling, so you end up eating less at each meal and not snacking as much between them.
But don't rely on just fish oil pills to get extra servings, you won't be eating as healthfully as you would if you were prioritizing getting those nutrients in their whole food source.